Eliot Higgins started his work in online open source investigation as a hobby on his first blog ‘The Brown Moses Blog’, named after a Frank Zappa song. His work on the UK phone hacking scandal and examining videos from the conflict in Syria led to increasing recognition among the journalist and human rights communities. His first major stories included identifying the use of so-called ‘barrel bombs’ by the Syrian military, and the smuggling of weapons to the Syrian opposition, with The Telegraph describing him as ‘the blogger who tracks Syrian rockets from his sofa’.
Higgins launched Bellingcat in 2014, and it has since grown into a team of volunteer investigators, as well as a broader community of investigators and supporters across the world, attracting funding from a range of organisations including the Open Society Foundations and National Endowment for Democracy. Bellingcat has won The Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Prize in 2015, the European Press Prize for Innovation in 2017, the Ars Electronica Prize for Digital Communities in 2018, the European Press Prize for Investigation in 2019, the London Press Club award for Digital Journalism in 2019.